“Agriculture is not for old people” says 56 year old Ntombizanele Kima from Kwanobuhle (Khayelitsha area) in Kariega. “Young people must be encouraged to practice farming, especially in rural areas, and start farming at a young age so that they can grow up learning the tricks of running a successful farm.”
Kima adds that jobs are scarce, the economy is not doing well and the cost of food as well as oil is constantly increasing. She adds that if you can grow more of your own food you will rely less on buying food from the shops. “The economy does not favour those who does not have skills. Through farming you are able to put food on the table on a daily basis and meet your financial needs” says Kima.
“This will help us to fight poverty and unemployment in our communities. Farming creates opportunities” says Kima. “You start by planting vegetables in the backyard of your yard, then you can expand to bigger land and find a market for your products. Start by selling to your community and then go beyond your neighbourhood.”
Kima realized her passion for farming from a young age. “It’s been a great journey for me, to understand the dynamics of farming. Today I’m able to mentor people and advise them on what to do when on farming, especially when it comes to food gardens. I also provide tips to overcome challenges to as farmers of food gardens” says Kima.
We are Landless
In the absence of land redistribution, particularly in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the Makukhanye Rural Movement identifies unused fertile land and occupies it. This is one of the strategies the movement employs to pressurise government to fast track agrarian transformation and engage with the community and the movement.
Given how poverty and unemployment is deepening, land transformation and agrarian reform has become even more urgent, particularly in rural areas. “Land is still owned by a privileged few while the majority of the people do not have access to land for farming and food production” says Ntombentsha Nelani, a backyard gardener and livestock farmer.
Nelani believes that if South Africa is to be a food sovereign nation, people must have access to fertile land. “People were told, now that you have democracy you are free. But for the landless, there is no freedom. The reality is that land dispossession no longer matters to government.” says Nelani
“We demand the right to practice agroecology and farm live stock as our option for today and the future and government must support this not just in policy but in practice. We do not want agricultural officials to promote pesticides and genetically modified seeds. Our government prioritises big farmers who produce for formal markets while we remain excluded from this!” adds Nelani.